Where to Eat, Right Now: The List
Here, in list form, our compendium of where you should be eating right this very moment: a carefully vetted mix of the forward-leaning restaurants that have emerged on the scene during the past couple of years and the stalwarts reinventing themselves in fresh ways (eligibility deadline: end of September). For more highlights and details about our selection process, check out the complete 2013 dining guide.
Some of the area’s most exciting food—grilled potatoes with pumpkin and marrow butter, takoyaki with plum sauce—is being served by Tim Maslow and crew at a scruffy Watertown diner, against a sonic backdrop of slow jams, no less (at least on a recent visit).
$$$ | Great for: Wine | 93 School St., Watertown, 617-923-4330, stripts.com.
Tiffani Faison’s homage to Texas barbecue offers high-quality renditions of smoked brisket, pulled pork, and light-as-air biscuits—plus masterfully composed salads to pair with them.
$$ | Great for: Groups, Cocktails | 1381 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.
Seasonal produce is the star of the vegetable-centric dishes at this tucked-away Newton spot. Carnivores, meanwhile, will appreciate the inventive meat boards for two.
$$$ | Great for: Vegetarians, Cocktails, Wine, Date | 755 Beacon St., Newton, 617-244-4445, sycamorenewton.com.
The recent joint effort from brothers Louis and Michael DiBiccari has introduced a vibrant mix of à la carte sides and mains, serious cocktails, and a casual-bites-driven takeout spot (TR Street Foods) to Fort Point.
$$–$$$ | Great for: Groups, Cocktails | 343 Congress St., Boston, 617-790-0808, tavernroad.com.
TEN TABLES J.P.
The intimate dining room remains a lovely place to tuck into house-made sausages and elegant pastas, but don’t overlook the bar area, which boasts a litany of fun snacks, a great burger, and excellent cocktails from barman Joe Choinière.
$$–$$$ | Great for: Vegetarians, Cocktails, Wine, Date | 597 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-8810, tentables.net.
Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s tapas spot remains a South End fave, thanks to its appealing mix of Spanish classics (tortilla Española, paella) and quirky one-offs (pork belly with pumpkin and kimchi).
$$ | Great for: Vegetarians, Cocktails, Wine | 1704 Washington St., Boston, 617-536-4300, toro-restaurant.com.
Jody Adams’s second restaurant is sleek and scene-y, but there’s plenty of substance in the interesting dishes (like whole lobster and clams in a Thai-scented broth) and welcoming service.
$$$ | Great for: Groups, Cocktails, Wine, Date | 540 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-451-1234, trade-boston.com.
With its seriously stacked sherry list, unconventional small plates (grilled lamb tongue, beer-battered golden trout), and location inside a music-and-book store, this J.P. tapas bar is about as cool as it gets.
$$ | Great for: Cocktails, Wine, Date | 470 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477-4851, tresgatosjp.com.
Whole chicken for Two from West Bridge. Hover/click for details.
Matthew Gaudet’s Kendall Square tribute to small-plate wizardry turns lowly carrots and cauliflower into masterpieces, yet the more-shareable menu items—like braised lamb neck—are winners, too.
$$$ | Great for: Vegetarians, Groups, Cocktails, Wine, Date | One Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-945-0221, westbridgerestaurant.com.
Head to this tasting-menu-only Han-over Street pop-up while you still can for excellent bread (four words: black garlic–miso butter), beautiful pastas, and conceptual yet satisfying desserts.
$$$ | Great for: Date | 351 Hanover St., Boston, 617-756-7571, whiskboston.com.